Detroit -

As you know, it can be a real hassle firing up your car and realizing it is time for a nuclear reactor change.

Well, maybe that hasn’t happened to you, but back in the 50’s Ford designers came up with something that could have put you in that situation.

The Ford Nucleon was not so much a concept car but grand idea. The vehicle would be run by a nuclear reactor at the rear of the car. I imagine you’d be really disappointed if you bumped into one of these things on the road.

Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at The Henry Ford, had this to say about the Nucleon:

"As a concept, the Ford Nucleon is about one step beyond someone saying, 'Hey, a nuclear car would be cool!'

In other words, Ford built the model purely as a "maybe someday" dream car. There was no thought of actually building the car in 1958.

The technology simply didn't exist, and the designers knew that. (They imagined, though, that someday it might exist.)

All of this being the case, there was no serious discussion about practical matters like safety, refueling, replacing the reactor, etc.

In any event, the potential dangers of nuclear energy probably weren't fully appreciated by the public until Three Mile Island in 1979.

The model came to us in 1987 as a gift from Ford Motor Company."

That model can be seen at The Henry Ford Museum along with other innovative car designs. If you want to read more about the museum and my trip to it, click here.

Want to read about another far-out ride? Check out the 1899 Horsey Horseless.

Do you have a classic ride you'd like to share with everyone? Make sure to use the hashtag #CruiseTheD on Instagram and Twitter to share your pictures and thoughts. Your pictures will show up on our Cruise The D app!

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Ford Nucleon

Photo source: Ford Motor Company

Sponsored by: Specs Howard School of Media Arts